Three Next Level Ways to Use Egg Roll and Wonton Wrappers

Take egg roll and wonton wrappers beyond Asian cuisine

Egg rolls and wontons have never wandered far out of the American culinary purview.  After all, Chinese cuisine is one of the most popular ethnic foods in the U.S.

However, we have seen surge in popularity with egg roll and wonton wrappers in recent years as more people are cooking at home. Home cooks are wrapping and rolling fearlessly with all the video tutorials out there to guide them along the way, and with the wrappers being readily available at supermarkets.

But egg rolls and wontons have come a long way from the traditional filling of meat and vegetables and deep frying. Have you tried the Tex Mex, avocado, or salmon egg rolls at the Cheesecake Factory? Or perhaps the chicken wonton tacos at Applebee’s?

Clearly, these little pastry sheets are definitely meant for so much more than just egg rolls and wontons. They’re just waiting for you to unwrap and unleash a delicious culinary world beyond the traditional Asian applications.

Applebee's Chicken Wonton Tacos

Wok, away, grasshopper! Here are three creative ways to use egg roll and wonton wrappers.

Meal In a Cup

Eggroll wrappers fit perfectly into standard muffin tins, and smaller wonton wrappers are adorable in mini tins! After a quick trip to the oven, these pastry cups are ready to be filled with just about anything from sweet to savory.

How to: Spray muffin tins with cooking spray or brush lightly with olive oil, then fit one wrapper into each cup. Depending on a recipe, you may fill them and bake them off all in one go, or you may have to bake the cups first, fill them, then bake again. Either way, the results are the same: delicious, bite-size morsels!

With what do you fill them? Anything you heart desired! You can just spoon in some Chinese chicken salad, or take a southwestern turn and fill with black bean salad with avocado. For a hot meal, try ricotta cheese with meat sauce topped with mozzarella for a lasagna cup, ground turkey taco filling topped with cheese and tomatoes, or jalapeno poppers like this one below.

Fresh Pasta Stand-In

No time to roll out fresh pasta? Egg roll and wonton wrappers to the rescue!

Use egg roll wrappers as lasagna sheets. No need to pre-cook the noodles! Just layer them in as you would with your regular lasagna application. Cover and bake until the noodles are cooked through, then you can bake a little longer or put the lasagna under the broiler if you like that brown and melty, cheesy crust.

As for wonton wrappers, they are just the right size for making ravioli. Fill these sheets with anything from simple ricotta (and bake for appetizer) to the show stopping raviolo al uovo with ricotta and runny egg yolk center.

Sweet Sensations

The sky’s the limit when it comes to using egg roll and wonton wrappers for desserts! Make the dessert cups by brushing on melted butter instead of non-stick spray. Sprinkle on some cinnamon-sugar for a perfect ice cream vessel (hm…dulce de lechce ice cream…), apple pie filling, or cannoli cream.

You can also make traditional shaped egg rolls and wontons that are crispy on the outside and filled with oozy, gooey, yummy sweet fillings like fried chocolate hazelnut banana raviolis, or S’more egg rolls filled with chocolate and marshmallow fluff.

And by the way, these egg roll and wonton wrappers freeze really well. Pack unused portions into a zip top back, squeeze out all the air, and pop them into the freezer. They’ll keep for at least two months. Just thaw them out in your refrigerator overnight before use.

But seriously though, with all the things you can make with these wrappers, we doubt you’ll have them in your freezer that long.

Chinese New Year: 15 Days of Good Eating

Peak season citrus and fresh vegetables play major roles in this food-centric lunar festival

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Hang the red lanterns, gather your citrus fruits, and cook your noodles. On February 16, it’s time to welcome the year of the Dog!

Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year) is the most important traditional Chinese holiday, and is celebrated around the world. The celebration starts on the second new moon after the winter solstice, which is on February 8, 2016, and goes on for 15 days. During this time, also known as the Spring Festival, those who celebrate visit temples to pay respect to their ancestors and pray for good fortune in the coming year. Small red envelopes of money are given to children as a token of good luck and prosperity. And, like most any family-centered holiday, everyone gathers around for a family feast, making Chinese New Year one of the biggest food holidays of the year.

Food is definitely a focus of Chinese New Year celebration, but it’s more than just nourishment. In Chinese traditions, foods served during the festival have auspicious meanings. Chinese traditions are rich with wordplay and symbolism. Some of the dishes and ingredients have names that sound similar to words and phrases referring to good wishes.

For example, “Kumquat” literally means “golden orange.” Symbolizing wealth and prosperity, the little citrus fruits, and sometimes the tree saplings, are given as gifts during Chinese New Year. Other “wealthy” fruits include Oranges and Tangerines. The larger citrus like Pummelos and Grapefruits symbolize abundance, prosperity, and family unity.

Another item that represents good fortune is Daikon or Asian Radish. In one Chinese dialect, the word for radish is a homophone for “good fortune.” This is why the savory radish cake is traditionally eaten during Chinese New Year celebration. But Daikon is more versatile than that. It can be added to soups and stews, steamed, or eaten fresh, chopped up or thinly shaved into salads.

Daikon could be a part of the mixed vegetable dish that represents family unity. This typical stir-fry is made with a touch of oyster sauce for business success and a mix of vegetables like Shanghai Bok Choy for close family ties, and Woodear and Shiitake Mushrooms for longevity.

The ultimate longevity blessing, however, comes from the noodles. Long and uncut, they symbolize long life. While Chow Mein is a traditional choice, other Asian noodles like Yakisoba are used for pan-fries and stir-fries, and Udons are used in soups. Shrimp may be added for liveliness and pork for abundance of blessings.

One of the many Chinese New Year wishes translates to “May your happiness be without limit.” With good eating like this, it definitely is the beginning of a very happy year!

Kung Hei Fat Choy! (Happy New Year and be prosperous!)

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Intel Features Frieda’s

Our president and CEO Karen and our company were featured on Intel’s #SheOwnsIt series which spotlights women small business owners and their journey of success.

“It is an absolute requirement to be fearless when you run a business. Sometimes you’re going in a direction no one else has been before. And the leader has to be leading the charge.”

And we’d follow her anywhere.

The Ultimate Purple Sweet Potato Guide

Demystifying different types of purple-fleshed sweet potatoes, one tuber at a time

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There is no doubt that purple sweet potatoes have gained popularity over the past year. But not all varieties of purple sweet potatoes are created equal.

Oh yes, there is more than just ONE purple sweet potato variety!

The three main types of purple flesh sweet potatoes consumed in the U.S. are Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes, Okinawan sweet potatoes, and Ube (pronounced OO-beh). Consumers—and even food writers—often confuse these three because of skin or flesh color, different names, and even because the Internet shows confusing images. As a matter of fact, one of them is not even a sweet potato at all but a true yam. (And no, a yam is not the same as a sweet potato either, but that’s a whole other story.)

Follow us down the purple trail, friends.

Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes

Born in the USA, Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes originated in Stokes County, North Carolina. They’re now grown commercially in the perfectly sandy soil of central California. Available from late August through early to late spring, these sweet potatoes have purple-tinted skin with bold purple flesh that intensifies when cooked.

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Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes have a drier, denser texture, and better-balanced sweetness than their orange counterparts. A good source of vitamin C, Stokes Purple® has the most anthocyanins, the antioxidant compound in the purple pigments, of all three purple sweet potatoes.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Stokes Purple Sweet Potato Mash

Because of their gorgeous color inside and out, Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes are often mistakenly identified as either Okinawan sweet potatoes or worse, ube.

Okinawan Sweet Potatoes

The origin of the Okinawan sweet potato reads like an adventure novel. Believed to have come from Aztec South America with the Spaniards to the Philippines and China in the 1490s, the plant did not reach Japan until the 1600s. The initial planting was in Okinawa, the southern island of Japan, before they were cultivated all over Japan. Eventually, these purple tubers ended up in Hawaii and became a part of the native menu, where they are also known as “Hawaiian sweet potatoes.”

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Okinawan Sweet Potatoes

Beige on the outside and lavender-purple on the inside, these purple sweet potatoes are grown in Hawaii for the U.S. market. Blue-ish purple once cooked, they have a delicate, slightly sweet taste and a creamy texture that is on the starchy side.

Food52 - Purple Sweet Potato and Haupia Pie

Photo: Food52 – Purple Sweet Potato and Haupia Pie

Because Okinawan sweet potatoes originated from Japan, they’re often confused with Japanese sweet potato (also known as Murasaki sweet potato). It doesn’t help matters that the Japanese sweet potato variety has reddish-purple skin too, but the flesh is actually off-white to cream-colored. You know that reddish-purple potato emoji on your phone? 🍠 This is a Japanese sweet potato!

Instagrammer @MackAnneCheese captures Stokes Purple® and Japanese/Murasaki side-by-side here.


Ube (Purple Yam)

Ube is having a moment right now as dark purple donuts (made famous by Manila Social Club in New York City) and purple ice cream pop up everywhere. Also known as a purple yam, ube is a staple of the Filipino kitchen and is well loved all over Asia as a dessert ingredient for its sweet and nutty flavor.

With all the attention on ube comes the confusion about this elusive yam. (Yes, a true yam!)

First of all, ube is rarely available fresh in the U.S. Many people would say that they indeed have bought some “ube,” but photographic proof usually shows they’ve bought either Stokes Purple® or Okinawan sweet potatoes, or sometimes even taro root.

This, folks, is a fresh ube.

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Ube

Blame it on the over-eager Internet! Search for an image of ube yourself and you’ll understand the conundrum. Only when you search for ube’s botanical name of Dioscorea alata will you find ube’s true form: a tuber with brown, bark-like skin and flesh that ranges from white with purple specks to lilac.

Now, the ube that is used widely comes as a jam (Ube Halaya) or in a powder, extract, or frozen form. It turns out that preparing these true yams is labor intensive and that is why they’re commonly available in processed form.

ube_packaged

Let’s recap what we’ve learned so far.

Stokes Purple®OkinawanUbe
Stokes Purple®OkinawanUbe
Skin colorPurpleBeigeBrown, bark-like
Flesh colorPurpleLavender-purpleWhite with purple specks to lilac
Native toCalifornia/North CarolinaHawaii/JapanPhilippines/Asia
AvailabilitySeptember through AprilYear-roundNot widely available fresh, but as a jam, powder, extract, or frozen

And remember, Murasaki or Japanese sweet potatoes 🍠 are only purple ON THE OUTSIDE!

Now, go forth and explore all the majesty of purple sweet potatoes!

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